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Board to discuss superintendent evaluation

By Greg Gelpi

The superintendent will learn how she will be graded for her job performance today.

The Clayton County Board of Education will hold a retreat from 4 to 8 p.m. today to discuss how to evaluate Superintendent Barbara Pulliam. The retreat will be at the Clayton County Administrative Complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro.

State law requires superintendents to be evaluated annually. This will be Pulliam's first evaluation process, since she began work as superintendent Feb. 9.

"Legally, it has no weight whatsoever," school board attorney Gary Sams said. "They could give the superintendent a glowing evaluation one day and not rehire the superintendent the next day or vice versa."

Today's open retreat is to discuss how to evaluate Pulliam, although the evaluation itself will be confidential.

"The board and the superintendent sometimes argue about the evaluation instrument," Sams said from his experience working with school boards in metro Atlanta. "Sometimes it's so small as how neat the superintendent keeps her office."

Although he has no information on how the Clayton County school board will evaluate its superintendent, items that may be considered include bringing in a third part facilitator or using an evaluation designed by the Georgia School Boards Association.

"The state just wants to make sure that the board is doing what it's supposed to be doing to evaluate the superintendent," Sams said.

The GSBA evaluation is what board member Allen T. Johnson is most familiar with and what he hopes to use.

"It's about time we do this because she's been here since February," Johnson said.

He said the GSBA evaluation has five to six tasks that a superintendent is graded on in six categories, the most important of which is handling of personnel.

The board approved a reorganization chart brought forward by Pulliam and there have been many new hires in the school system since she took over, Johnson said.

"I would rate her as doing a very good job so far," Johnson said. "She's had a really tough time, and she's come through it smoothly. The feeling from my constituents is that she has done a very good job."

When Pulliam first brought up the evaluation during a public meeting, she said she wanted to be evaluated so that she would have direction and guidance for the coming year.

The retreat had been scheduled for September, but was postponed because of inclement weather.

Other items on the agenda for the retreat will be a community forum survey conducted by a University of Georgia professor and en executive session.